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Dieren en planten

Skuas   Great skua   Arctic Skua   Swimming birds   

Great skua


length: 53-66 centimeters
wingspan: 125-140 centimeters


1.3 - 1.5 kilograms


dark brown with white


maximum 35 years


fish, fish wastes and birds


maturity: age 7
number of eggs: 2

  • Dut: Grote Jager
  • Eng: Great Skua
  • Fren: Grand Labbe
  • Ger: Grosse Raubmöwe
  • Dan: Storkekjove (Storkjove)
  • Nor: Storjo
  • Frisian: Greate skraits
  • Ital: Stercorario maggiore
  • Lat: Stercorarius skua
Great skua, Marijke de Boer

Great skua

Great skuas look like bulky brown gulls. They have a large hooked bill. Make sure you are wearing gloves if you want to help a wounded great skua lying on the beach! Great skuas spend practically the entire year at sea, hunting fish and fish waste. They act like true pirates around fishing vessels, where they get their food here by pestering gulls and terns until they let go of their prey or disgorge it out of fear. Great skuas don't even hesitate to kill their victim as well.

  • Distribution of the great skua in the North Sea region
    Distribution of great skuas, Ecomare
    Source: Important bird areas fot seabirds in the North Sea.

    Great skuas nest on rocky coasts in Iceland, Scotland and Norway. In the late summer, 7%  of the entire population of great skuas are found in the Dutch North Sea. That means 2000 birds. They spend the winter mostly along the Spanish and Portugese ocean coast. Sometmes they don't go that far south, staying in the southern North Sea region during the winter. They are seen along the Dutch coast in the spring and autumn, and occasionally in the winter, particularly during stormy weather.